Category Archives: Uncategorized

Review. Peter Walker: “The Miracle Pill”

The titles of Peter Walker’s books indicate that he thinks he has got big solutions to big problems. I said in my review of his first, How Cycling Can Save the Worldr/ that: “Those of us with a cynical mindset might be put off by such optimism and the extravagant claim of the title. But don’t be…”

So how about “The Miracle Pill”? Yet again Walker has addressed a massive problem – the quite enormous health disbenefits of not being physically active and presented solutions to it. Anybody interested in what is now called “Active Travel” (walking and cycling as forms of everyday transport) should read it.

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“Reducing Road Danger: Empowering Local Communities”

We’re pleased that our conference, jointly organised with our friends RoadPeace, planned for April will now be run as two webinars on October 22nd and 29th starting at 4 pm.

Please register for free here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/reducing-road-danger-empowering-local-communities-tickets-123531503051 as soon as possible.

PROGRAMME:

October 22nd – speakers

•Welcome – Baroness Jones , President, Road Danger Reduction Forum

•”Vision Zero: Enforcement and reducing road danger” (including using 3rd party reporting)Andy Cox, formerly Superintendent, Metropolitan Police Roads and Traffic Police

•”How important is dashcam footage when a crash happens?” Ciara Lee, RoadPeace.

•”Using the technology” –

Madison/Cycliq bike camera lights

Nextbase Dashcams

“Cycling Mikey“

• •October 29th – speakers

•Welcome – Baroness Jones President, Road Danger Reduction Forum

•”Reducing speeds in your neighbourhood – 20mph speed limits, Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and Community RoadwatchJeremy Leach, Action Vision Zero

•“Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Winning over the local community”: Clare Rogers, London Cycling Campaign

•“Involving your Police and Crime CommissionerVictoria Lebrec, RoadPeace

• Panel discussion with speakers and Dr Robert Davis, Chair RDRF

Transport in the time of the Coronavirus crisis: what we need to do NOW.

I’m aware that most of us have, if anything, more tasks than usual to complete at this difficult time. There is also a natural reticence about “being political” at a time when many of us will lose loved ones. I certainly don’t think that phenomena like reduced motor traffic and better air quality should be airily welcomed as “silver linings” to the cloud of Covid-19. However, I would argue that there are ways in which we need to become involved in developments, not just because of the immediacy of matters like the need to control speeding from all too many drivers taking advantage of reduced traffic, but because the car-dominated status quo may become even more entrenched as the crisis subsides if we don’t.

We have already seen carmakers allegedly trying to weaken controls on emissions at this time . On March 23rd Transport for London suspended all of its charging zones to assist emergency services and critical workers. In fact, as critics such as Councillor John Burke of Hackney Council pointed out, these could have been exempted with existing technology. The result would have been even more convenience for them, and no increased traffic stress risked for London.

I mention this last case because in a Twitter debate on this with the President of the Automobile Association, he told us to “set aside ideology” – while being, in my view, all too “ideological”. A classic defence of the political status quo is to argue that we shouldn’t “be political”. But transport is political – we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. Consider the current debate about actual (or exaggerated) levels of inappropriate use of parks, and the issue of police enforcing Government instructions. Compare that with reports that overstretched police officers may not be enforcing speeding   – by drivers who may well not be critical workers or making essential journeys – which has been normalised by all too many whose ideology claims that speeding is not a “real” crime.

In my view here are things that transport professionals and campaigners should be doing if they can find the time. It should be time well spent.

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“Who kills whom” and the measurement of danger.

In our Charter we give a commitment to: “Find new measures to define the level of danger on our roads. These would more accurately monitor the use of and threat to benign modes.” This post is part of our work at doing that – hopefully it will contribute to debate. It is based on a document by PACTS given to the Transport Committee Active Travel enquiry in December 2018.

In previous posts and discussions, we have spent a lot of time talking about the need to have measures and targets for benign transport modes expressed with a measure of exposure – e.g. casualty rates per distance, or time, or number of trips travelled. Examples are here  and here . In this post we move on to look at the question of: Who Kills/Hurts/Endangers Whom?

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The Alliston case: after the verdict

The previous post  has had more views than any other in our history. We have received significant support for its content in comments and on Twitter, and also – as one must expect in the age of social media – abuse and insult. Although readers will judge for themselves, it is striking how the insults have been based on a lack of evidence and – above all – misreading of what the piece was about.

So, to repudiate the insults, let’s clarify what the piece was – and more importantly was not – about. We can then move on to an assessment of where we are now after an extraordinary week.

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